Thames Valley is a Cotswold Morris team historically centered in London, Ontario, Canada, where it was founded in January 1981. But given that today’s Thames dancers now hail from many different locations, the team now calls all of North America its home.
Since its origins, Thames has been a single tradition team: we set out with Field Town, but over the years it evolved into what we came to call Thames Valley. This simply reflects the fact that our style, developed in substantial isolation, had become, for better or worse, quite distinctive, and of our maintaining a repertoire of dances which is now almost all of our own invention.
Over the years, “out-of-town dancers” have become the regular core of the team, rather than simply honorary members. In recognition of this, some years ago we officially re-named ourselves Thames Valley International. If it weren’t for these international brethren, the team would probably have disappeared long since; nowadays we glory in our scattered status, and our balancing act on the cusp of non-existence adds spice to team life. We now dance together only a few times annually: we usually join the Bouwerie Boys and Ring O’Bells on Easter Weekend in New York City, and are often at the Marlboro Morris Ale in Vermont, with other tours as the team sees fit.
For a more complete and candid history of Thames Valley’s early years, read Paul Handford’s 1988 article for the American Morris Newsletter, “Recollections about development in isolation: Thames Valley and Field Town in London, Ontario.”